Articles, College, Confidence,, School

Top 10 Tips for Starting College

Starting college can be exciting and scary all at the same time. No matter what, it’ll be okay. Here’s a list of a few tips to not only survive starting college, but to thrive. I hope these help you out the way they helped me! 


  1. Get plenty of rest, wear your favorite outfit, and be ready to jump in when you arrive on campus. Go in with the mindset that you cannot wait to fully immerse yourself into your classes, clubs, and any new people you might meet. 
    1. Too often, we tell ourselves things like ‘I’m shy’, or ‘I’m bad at making friends’, and these simply aren’t true. Hold your head up and start doing actions that conflict with these negative thoughts. Slowly but surely, you’ll see a shift in the way you normally think and feel about yourself. You’ll also open yourself up to a lot more possibilities. 
  2. Join at least one club and invest in it. Devote time and energy to be the best you can be and give it 100%. This will allow you to make friends, find places on campus where you fit, and let you feel part of something at your school. 
  3. Don’t let yourself become a wallflower in the classroom. Do your best to participate in classes, utilize tutoring and office hours (if you need it), and be aware of any other academic resources you might have. College isn’t easy, and it can be a rough transition. Let yourself be recognized as a hard worker in the classroom and get the help you need. This could lead to not only having good grades, but also potential awards, recommendation letters, and other acknowledgements that can take you FAR. 
  4. Make a schedule and stick to it. Include time to rest and spend time with friends, as well as time for your studies, organization commitments, and your job (if you have one). Account for how long it takes to travel where you need to go (whether you walk around campus or drive). It’s amazing how much time we can waste throughout the day. Being aware will help you stay on top of things while feeling like you have a work-life balance. 
    1. This is really helpful. My friend started doing this and realized that her 20 minute Netflix breaks totaled 3 HOURS. She now feels more rested and more on top of things! 
  5. If you need a part time job, look on campus first! An on-campus job is not only located where you’ll usually be anyway, but it’s also tailored to students. Depending on the job, these typically allow you to do homework while at work, take time off when commitments come up, and are overall more understanding of student needs. These can also help you feel more connected to the campus itself. 
    1. I work at the information desk at my university’s student center, but other jobs to look out for would be working in campus dining at a restaurant or the cafeteria, working the desk for administration at your school, working in the bookstore, or tutoring. 
  6. Include exercise in your schedule. Not only is this great for your physical health, but this will also help you feel less stressed. 
  7. Meet with a counselor or advisor about scholarships and fellowships. Some universities have a director in place to help you research and write for more financial aid, study abroad experiences, and more!
  8. See what kind of mental health services your university offers. Some schools have free mental health counseling which can be super beneficial for students. 
  9. Know that it’s always okay to change your mind. If you don’t pick the right major, minor, club, roommate, etc. It’s okay to take a step back, re-evaluate, and make a different choice. 
  10. Stay in touch with family and friends from high school. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new school, but make sure that you check in with people who have been there for you every once in a while! 
    1. Just make sure that you’re not overly-attached to high school. By no means should you drop your old friends, but make sure that you’re looking outside of that bubble to really make the most of college. It is very possible to love high school memories and friends while embracing new experiences in college! 

Bonus Tips:

If you’re religious (even just a little bit) get involved with a faith-based organization. Even if you don’t agree with every view presented, it can widen your worldview, help you make friends, and give you a sense of comfort in the midst of uncertainty. If you aren’t religious, try to find a community that isn’t overly competitive where you can go to unwind. Whether this is through friends, a campus organization, or a mentor. Try to find a home away from home where you can feel comfortable and cared for. 

Also, I don’t recommend getting into a relationship with a non-freshman your first year. Your freshman year of college is about exploring yourself and getting a feel for young-adult life. Becoming romantically involved with someone older (or younger), at this stage can be overwhelming. Even a sophomore is in a different stage of life because they’ve already experienced the many things that come with their first year of college, and you always want to be with someone who is on the same page. This creates balance and equality in the relationship. Of course, it’s different if you already met your partner in high school! 


Just take it in! College flies by faster than you think. Enjoy it! If you want more tips and behind the scenes of my freshman year of college, check out my Youtube series ‘Confessions of a College Freshman’ that I made a few years ago for girls just like you! 

Check out more college tips from GirlSpring contributors!


Skylar Summers is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She's passionate about empowering women through storytelling, writing, and creating visual media. To learn more about Skylar, visit her Instagram page @skylarsummers20 and watch her short films on her website (linked on her Instagram page)!

More Posts - Website

You may also like

Leave a Reply